More Minors Drinking Alcohol in Wyoming

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In the last state in the nation to raise the legal drinking age to 21, Wyoming has seen an increase in minors drinking alcohol over the past few years and some say, it's a problem that can be controlled.

Erin Sims of Central Wyoming Counseling Center says. "people don't feel like it's that big of a deal to just be trying it, but you know when you're trying it at that early age, then, you know, it can kick into a habit pretty fast."

More of Wyoming's youth begin drinking their first alcohol at a young age and the numbers don't lie.

Det. J. Hatcher of Casper PD says, "2012, we had 258 citations given out to minors in possession of alcohol. In 2013, we had 326 citations for minors in possession of alcohol, which was an increase of 26%.",

And you may be surprised just how young Wyoming's children are having their first adult beverage. Sims says, "I've seen them as young as ten. Sometimes, the average that I see is about 15. So really in that ten to 15 year age range, just to be really aware of their pier group, what they're doing, who they're hanging out with."

There are some things parents can do to guide their children. Sims says, "I would tell parents to definitely have a conversation with their kids about it to not let it be something that goes by the wayside. That it's, you know, a conversation that they're openly having."

Det. Hatcher says, "if they are seeing it around the home and it becomes just like drinking a coke, to them, it's not that big of a deal."

Experts say drinking that young can often snowball into more dangerous habits.

Sims says. "again, if it starts out experimentally, like not a big deal at first, you know, that can be a slippery slope real quick."

Parents be aware... The signs are clear.

"If they're skipping school, if they're getting in trouble with teachers, if they're having you know extra conflicts with parents. If they find themselves unable to stop even when they really want to, that's a good sign that, you know, it's time to get some help."

Counselors say giving into peer pressure may seem harmless at first, but can have long-term implications.